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Archive for October, 2011

Lightning on the wave

October 28, 2011 7 comments

Limyaael.

Have you heard about her? Read about her at least?

She has written a few books, and the one I am reading right now is  her Harry Potter fan fiction: Saving Connor

I normally don’t go after fan fiction, but let me tell you – Limyaael is different. This book is extremely well written. In fact, I can almost challenge you – try and stop reading after the first two chapters. If you like the original HP series, I am sure you won’t be able to.

Ah yes, she was also an extremely opinionated person who regularly dished out “rants” – 424 of them to be precise. And then one day, she disappeared off the face of the internet. No one knows what happened. But wherever she is, I am sure that she is living a happy life – after all, so many people have her in their hearts.

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Bureaucracy Illustrated

October 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Another post from another blog. This one is circa 2008

* * *

“Enter the Bureaucrat”, A play in three acts by supernaut
The players:M: Me
T: My Team Lead
P1: A peer Project Manager from another group
P2: P1′s boss
P3: P2′s boss

Act 1
M is sitting at his desk, working away to glory. His head is slightly bent forwards, reading the mail from P1.
P1, Voice Over: We need XYZ presentation from you ASAP, for presenting to Big Boss (P3).
M: (Email narration as he typeth): When exactly do you want it? “ASAP” means different things to different people.
P1, Voice Over: Can we have it tomorrow please
M (Email narration as he typeth): Yes

Act 2, the next day
M is sitting at his desk, working away to glory.
Enter P1: I discussed the presentation with my boss, P2. I believe it needs ABC changes. Actually P3 wanted this information, so it has to be accurate. And we need it urgently.
M: Ok, T will do it.
P1: Thanks.
Exit P1

T, Voice Over – Email narration as he typeth: P1, Here is the presentation you requested.

Enter P1: M, This presentation is excellent. But P3 actually wanted a single-page document
M: Then why did you ask us to work on this presentation? We ignored our other work to do this “ASAP”
P1: The presentation was needed so that P2 could understand what’s the document
M: Ok, I’ll get it done
Exit P1T, Voice Over – Email narration as he typeth: P1, Here is the document you requested

Act 3 (Next Monday – As crazy as any Monday can be)
M is sitting at his desk, working away to glory
Enter P1: P2 discussed the document with me, frankly he is not happy with it.
M: Why, what is it that he did not like
P1: He says it’s too brief, we need to put more information into it
M: But P3 wanted only 1 page…

P1: Yes, but although it has to be concise, it should also include all the relevant information and supportings with it.

M, Sarcastically, to himself: Ok, I’ll use a 6pt font
(Rest of the proceedings are censored in public interest)

The IT Expert

October 17, 2011 1 comment

This post is from one of my previous blogs (which I shut down about three years ago).

* * *

This incident happened when I had newly joined an organization. A Firefox fan, I naturally tried to download it; to my utter surprise, the download was blocked. I spoke about it to our in-house IT Support person, and he explained “due to security issues only Internet Explorer is allowed”.

 

Wow.

I tried to reason with him – Firefox is more secure, his computer has it too – but all in vain. In desperation I downloaded IE7, just for the sake of tabbed browsing. Downloads from Microsoft are not restricted, so I was able to install it and commence browsing. After half a day, I realized that although I was able to browse the internet, none of the intranet sites would open. Once again, I called up the IT Support person. After tinkering around with my PC, he declared that the issue was due to the higher IE version, and asked me to uninstall it. After the uninstall completed, I tried to open the intranet portal – and it opened! Victorious, the IT Guy walked away. Alas, it was too late when I realized I shouldn’t have let him go. The moment I entered my login credentials, it was all back to square one – none of the intranet sites would open!

Once again, the “IT Expert” was called upon; once again he started tinkering with my PC. Frustrated, I went to the pantry to make myself a cup of coffee. By the time I was back, all the sites were working fine! The IT guy asked me to verify all the open windows, bookmarked them for me (he insisted) and then walked away.

However, the speed with which he resolved the issue (coupled with the first resolution he provided) got me full of curiosity – I intended to find out what he actually did. 15 minutes into my R&D, I finally caught his “resolution” – he had actually opened all those sites from the internet, not the intranet. And by bookmarking them he intended for me to never find out.

Totally outclassed, I gave him a bow from my cubicle, re-installed IE7, and continued with my browsing activities.

How to get a driver’s license for your spouse in the US of A

October 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Disclaimer – this post is relevant only to non-US nationals who intend to stay beyond 90 days. Also, it’s based solely and completely upon my personal experience.

  1. After landing in the US, wait for 3 weeks before you can apply for your social security number (that’s the amount of time it usually takes for your visa/ immigration information to be updated in the government’s servers)
  2. After the first three weeks, apply for your SSN. If the Social Security Administration office is not able to find your data in their servers (which usually is the case), go to step 11. Complete steps 11-13, and then move on to step 3
  3. Vacillate for a few weeks – whether to buy a car or not? After all, you are planning to go back to your country soon, right?
  4. Realize 4 weeks later that this is the US. Unlike the country where you came from, public transport is close to non-existant. And without a car, life is pretty much miserable. (To the best of my knowledge and opinion, this is what most Americans care about – in the order of highest priority to the lowest – their car, their pets, themselves, their spouse, their kids, their friends, their parents)
  5. Spend between 1-2 months looking for a good deal on a used car. After buying the car, realize that instead of renting cars every weekend to shop for a car, you could have spent that money on the first good car you saw (and did not purchase because it was $500 above the market price)
  6. Make your spouse realize that she can drive here too – after all if she could drive back in your country, driving in the US will be a piece of cake. Everyone follows the rules!
  7. Get a letter from your employer certifying that your wife is a legal resident of the US and would like to have a driver’s license (you got this for yourself when you got your own license)
  8. After a month’s reading through the driver’s handbook, have your spouse go to the DMV. There, she will be told that she needs to carry your passport too. They want to verify whether both husband and wife are legal immigrants – not just her
  9. Go back home, pick up the passport and get back to the DMV (remember – you are traveling by public transport. 1 hour and 3 bus/light rail changes for a 20 min. trip by car)
  10. At the DMV, realize that they don’t have her immigration data in their system (so what if she entered the US 10 months ago and got her SSN without much ado?)
  11. Go to the USCIS/ DMV office in another suburb to submit the relevant paperwork. And be told that the office that processes these items works only Wednesdays. Back home (public transport again)
  12. Next week, go to the USCIS/ DMV office and submit the paperwork. Get to know that you will receive the paperwork in the mail within 2-4 weeks.
  13. 5 weeks later – no news. Go back to the USCIS/ DMV office and be told that everything is fixed in the system, and your wife can indeed apply for a driver’s license
  14. Go to the DMV to apply for a license, and be told that the letter from the employer (step #7) is valid only for 30 days and you need to get a new one

And that’s where we are at right now. A fresh letter from my employer is expected by this weekend, and then hopefully my wife will get her instruction permit (learner’s license) – on her seventh visit to the DMV.

Even More Emptiness

October 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Steve Jobs is no more. What else can I say? So much about him inspires me; let me share what comes to my mind right now:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life … have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

Emptiness

October 5, 2011 Leave a comment

If you had one room for your own – one empty room to begin with – how would you decorate it?

A sofa set or a lounger? An LCD TV or a Home Theater system? Or both? A gathering place for friends, or a place to seek solitude?

Let me tell you how I would do it.

The room will have a muted color on the walls. If you peek out of the French windows, a small path will lead your eyes through a lush green lawn to the wooden fence. At the end of the fence will be a pool full of white lotuses, with a small bridge going from one side to the other – just wide enough for the little animals to use.

Inside the room, the atmosphere would be more spartan. In one corner would be a shelf with a small selection of books. By its side, a laptop with my favorite music and movies. And oh yes, a pair of headphones too. In another corner would be a French Press, a jar of fine Arabica and a set of coffee cups.

Finally, a small portable lamp in case you want to read when it’s dark outside.

Books, music and coffee – if that won’t get you satisfaction, nothing else will.